A Russian Wild Boar

A small news item caught my eye the other day.

A retired New Hampshire Fish and Wildlife officer was traveling along Interstate 89 one night when something big rammed into her car hard enough to push it into the breakdown lane. Luckily she wasn’t hurt, but her car was pretty badly banged up.

The officers responding to the call told her it was probably a Russian wild boar.

Back in 2008, a Russian wild boar was struck and killed along Rte. 2 in Lancaster, Mass., and the year before, another one was hit along Rte. 2 in Royalston.

A little out of their territory, wouldn’t you think?

But no. Wildlife officials say Texas and New Hampshire have the largest populations of wild boars in the country. They’re also reasonably common in other southeastern states.

I don’t know much about the other populations, but the New Hampshire boars can be traced to a single source – a private hunting club that owns a 20,000-acre game preserve in central New Hampshire. It was formed in the 1890s and its membership is made up of a handful of the superwealthy. Years ago, they imported several of the boars for the fun of it, and of course, some escaped.

Coming from Eurasia, the boars do quite well in our New England region, and they are prolific breeders. Exact numbers aren’t available, but estimates are they number in the hundreds in New Hampshire. The central Mass.-NH border is a well-traveled wildlife highway, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that boars would find their way along it, too.

They can cause quite a bit of property damage – rooting around they can turn a nice patch of land into a deep mudhole in a few hours.

As for human – boar contact, so far they seem to involve automobiles. From the looks of them, I don’t know how I’d feel coming across one on the trail.